Early Childhood Education Pay – Business Owners Urged To Be Aware

Published July 01, 2020 (last updated November 18, 2020) -
woman working in early childhood

The minimum salary ECE teachers earn has increased, and Employsure, New Zealand’s largest workplace relations company, is urging employers with teachers on their payroll to make sure their systems reflect the new pay rate.

From today, trained ECE teachers will see a pay increase up to 9.6% to $49,862, the same as the starting rate for kindergarten teachers. Employers receiving higher funding rates from the Ministry of Education must pay all primary, ECE qualified and certified teachers at least the required minimum salary levels in accordance with the ECE Funding Handbook.

“This pay increase affects thousands of qualified teachers around the country, so it’s important employers are across the changes,” said Employsure Senior Employment Relations Adviser Ashlea Maley.

“Whenever there are modifications like this, it can be confusing for small business owners to know what relates them and what doesn’t.

“We’ve seen a number of businesses reach out to us regarding changes to minimum pay rates. Some require help with their documentation so they have on record any changes that may affect them. Some may need more specific advice, such as how to approach it if an employee asks for a pay increase.

“In terms of the increase to the minimum salary for ECE teachers, pay is a core term of employment and must be recorded in the employment agreement. If an employee is a union member, their pay will form part of their collective agreement. If they aren’t a union member, then their pay is listed in their individual employment agreement.

“A pay increase can influence the calculation of pay for leave such as sick leave or annual leave. This needs to be reflected in documentation, and any changes must be recorded in writing.”

The new rates come as a result of the Government’s $321m injection into early learning, announced in this year’s budget. Education and care services will get a subsidy to their rates, costing $123m over four years. Home-based early learning services will get $36.2m.

Another change set to affect some employers is an increase in minimum pay rates for Teacher Aides. This is part of a pay equity settlement resulting in further funding from the Ministry of Education. Increased funding has been announced by the Ministry, to be received by schools by October. New rates will be received from November and be backdated to 12 February.

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